February 3 2011

Repeal: 47-51

Charlotte Hays

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid must have some charm that eludes me: he kept his Democrats together to produce yesterday's  47-51 vote against the repeal of Obamacare.  The Republicans stuck together, too. No slight to Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's charm, but I think he must have had an easier time: the public continues not to warm to the massive piece of legislation.

Still, a few Democratic votes would have been nice. As Hotair observes: bummer. But I am not bummed out-a  4-vote margin isn't really that great, especially for legislation that passed by the skin of its teeth. This vote proves once again that Democrats, once in Washington, are more likely to do the bidding of their leadership than of the folks back home.  Would Reid have been smart to let a few Democrats go? The president has the veto pen, after all, and there's no way to muster votes to override a veto.

This solidarity is certain to be mentioned in 2012. Two Republicans tell NRO why this vote mattered:

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) dismissed accusations that the repeal vote was a "futile act" because it didn't stand a chance of passing. "These are the first steps on a long road that will culminate in 2012, whereby we will expose the flaws and the weaknesses in this legislation," he said. ...

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) echoed this sentiment. "This is just the beginning," he said. "We'll be going back at it in a variety of different ways." He mentioned defunding as well as legislation introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and John Barrasso (R., Wyo.), which would allow states to ‘opt out' of individual provisions of the law, as possible avenues the GOP would pursue.

Karl Rove has a great column in the Wall Street Journal today that shows how imperiled the health care law is. Rove notes that the administration is insisting that the Supreme Court will uphold the law and that it will be a winning issue for Democrats in 2012:

I'm not so sure. Take the question of Granny. In a speech last Friday defending his health-care law's effect on seniors against GOP attacks, Mr. Obama said, "I can report that Granny is safe." She may not feel that way if she's one of the 700,000 seniors whose private Medicare Advantage insurance policy was not renewed last year because her insurance provider quit the business.

When was the last time you heard a U.S. president having to claim that his policies won't kill "Granny"?

Rove adds:

No taxpayer is safe, either. Last week Richard Foster, CMS's chief actuary, confirmed to Congress that ObamaCare's Medicare cuts couldn't be used to reduce both Medicare's unfunded liability and to pay for ObamaCare's expense. Since the Obama administration is relying on this double counting to rig the numbers, Mr. Foster's testimony was particularly damaging.

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